Feed aggregator

Cybersecurity Experts Sound Alarm on Apple and E.U. Phone Scanning Plans

NYT Technology - Fri, 10/15/2021 - 09:38
A group of researchers said the “dangerous technology” was invasive and not effective at detecting images of child sexual abuse.

Windows 11 spotted running Android apps – so support could be arriving soon

Techradar - Fri, 10/15/2021 - 04:56

Windows 11 doesn’t boast Microsoft’s promised native support for Android apps yet, as those keen to have it have doubtless noticed if they’ve adopted the new OS, but the good news is that it looks like this much-awaited feature could be coming before too long.

Or at least we’ve caught a glimpse of Android apps now running under Windows 11 in testing, going by a leak from Bilibili (China) as highlighted by Windows Latest.

The theory is – and naturally, take this with some degree of caution, as with any leak – that Microsoft is now testing the Android Subsystem for Windows 11, and that’s exactly what these spilled screenshots (which include a glimpse of WeChat) show.

If testing is underway internally, this indicates that pretty soon we can expect the feature to make its way to the regularly released preview builds of Windows 11 (and subsequently on to the full version of Microsoft’s OS).

It’s a good sign, at any rate, and it’s backed up by the fact that Amazon’s App Store has been present in the Microsoft Store since about a month ago (though it’s not yet available for download, of course). Amazon’s store is how Microsoft will deliver Android apps in Windows 11 (rather than Google Play – and obviously with the limitations therein, as not every app is carried by Amazon, by any means).

What’s also interesting here is that the spilled screen grabs show multiple Android apps open in different windows at the same time, so multi-tasking will be facilitated here, as you might expect. Furthermore, any Android application will act like Windows software, in terms of being able to resize windows and so forth (and they’ll work with the Notification Center too). The more seamless the integration, the better, naturally.

Analysis: An exciting glimpse, but there’s still no official timeframe

Support for Android apps was something that was expected to debut with the initial version of Windows 11, as mentioned, but as soon as we started getting close to the release of the new OS, with no sign of the feature in test builds, it became clear enough that it wasn’t going to make the cut.

Since then, the question has become exactly how long are we going to have to wait for Android apps to grace the Windows 11 desktop? And at least seeing tangible evidence that testing is underway suggests that we might not have all that long to go – at least until Android support hits the official Windows 11 preview builds. Testing is expected to start before 2021 ends, of course, so we might just see something happen in the next month on that front.

The road to release for the full version of Windows 11 could be a longer and windier one, though, and we must remember that Microsoft has dropped to a cadence of just one major feature update per year – so the next OS upgrade isn’t coming until the second half of 2022. Because this is such a big feature, it may not pitch up until then, but you never know, there’s always the possibility of a feature pack update arriving beforehand, earlier in 2022. We’ll just have to see.

Meantime, Android apps can still be used with Microsoft’s OS as long as you go through the Your Phone app, but that’s a limited way of doing things, and hardly the same as having native support built-in.

WhatsApp: New encryption feature protects your chat history from prying eyes

Techradar - Fri, 10/15/2021 - 04:25

WhatsApp is now rolling out its end-to-end encryption service for chat backups, the company has confirmed.

Announced last month, the encryption feature adds an additional layer of protection to chat backups stored in Apple iCloud and Google Drive.

According to a WhatsApp blog post, users can now secure end-to-end encrypted backups with either a password or 64-digit encryption key, which in theory means no third party (including both WhatsApp and the cloud storage vendor) will have access to the information.

WhatsApp says the new feature will be rolled out incrementally, presumably so that any bugs and performance issues can be identified and isolated early on.

WhatsApp backups

Although WhatsApp was among the first platforms to provide users with end-to-end encryption for messages, a combination of technical challenges and inter-company politics has meant the same level of protection has not been available for chat backups, until now.

“WhatsApp was built on a simple idea: what you share with your friends and family stays between you,” wrote the company.

“While end-to-end encrypted messages you send and receive are stored on your device, many people also want a way to back up their chats in case they lose their phone. Starting today, we are making available an extra, optional layer of security to protect backups stored on Google Drive or iCloud with end-to-end encryption.”

As per a whitepaper published by WhatsApp, before backups are delivered to the cloud, the client encrypts messages and other content with a random key generated on the user’s device. Unless the user chooses to manage it themselves, this key is stored in a hardware security module (HSM)-based vault, which shields against tampering and unauthorized access attempts.

Essentially, this means WhatsApp users can rest easy in the knowledge that no one else is able to access their chat history backups while they are held in storage.

It’s worth noting that the encryption feature will not be switched on by default, so must be activated manually in the app via the following route: Settings > Chat > Chat Backup > End-to-end Encrypted Backup.

  • We've built a list of the best VPN services around

Best file compression software 2021

Techradar - Fri, 10/15/2021 - 03:52

The best file compression software will make it simple and easy to compress files for easy storage, with the option to work with multiple compression file types.

With the right file compression software, sharing and archiving files is easy. The ever-growing size of hard drives means the need to reduce file sizes when storing data has been reduced, but SDDs still cost significantly more per gigabyte than traditional spinning hard drives, so compressing files can still be very useful.

Compression is also very helpful when you want to send several files via email and keep them within the attachment size limit, share them via a service like WeTransfer, or send them to a remote cloud server.

That's not all – in addition to reducing file sizes, compression software offers plenty of extra features to take into consideration. Perhaps the best feature of compression tools is the ability to encrypt files and protect them with a password – something you'll find in all the tools we've picked here.

The most commonly used compression format is ZIP, but there are various other available. You never know which type you may encounter when downloading and sharing files, so it makes sense to have a program on hand that can handle more than one type. Here we take a look at a selection of the best tools, taking into account ones that offer the highest compression rates, and those that support the largest number of file types.

(Image credit: WinZip) 1. WinZip

The original and best file compression tool

Supports many file typesSplit large filesAdvanced management toolsPaid only

One of the most famous names in the world of software utilities, WinZip is still going strong after nearly 30 years, and is still one of the best file compression tools around. 

However, you may wonder if you can justify spending money on a compression tool when there are so many free alternatives available. Ultimately it depends on your priorities, but you do get a lot of extras for your money.

In addition to support for a wide range of archive formats (including ZIP, ZIPX, RAR (extraction only), 7z, TAR, GZIP, VHD and XZ), WinZip offers integration with a number of programs including Office for easy zipping as you work.

Other bonus features include the splitting of large zip files to fit different media, advanced file sharing options, cloud support and an advanced zip management system that rivals Windows Explorer. The interface adapts to suit mouse and keyboard setups or touchscreen devices, and there are backup and security options thrown in to protect your files.

WinZip is an incredibly useful tool to have in your software arsenal, and it's flexible enough to work in the way that suits you best – you can create and extract via the program interface, or using the program window.

And if you'd rather not pay money, we've featured the best free alternatives to Winzip.

Divider

(Image credit: RARLAB) 2. WinRAR

The best file compression software for RAR files

High compression rateWorks with multiple formatsCreate RAR files Paid only

As famous as WinZip in certain circles, WinRAR created a name for itself thanks to its proprietary RAR format, which offers incredible levels of compression. Most compression programs can extract RAR archives, but only WinRAR can (officially) create them. This exclusivity comes at a price that is similar to WinZip.

Of course, WinRAR can be used to compress files into many other compressed formats, and the program benefits from the fact that it is available for just about every platform imaginable. 

The interface is not the most pleasant to look at, and even if you opt to use the Explorer context menu to create or extract archives, beginners may well feel overwhelmed by the number of options and settings on display. That said, there is a wizard mode that take the hard work out of most tasks. 

WinRAR's killer feature is undoubtedly full RAR support, but its encryption, speed, self-extracting archive creation and themes (if you're into that sort of thing!) mean it's well worth taking a look at the trial version to see if this is the compression tool for you.

Divider

(Image credit: 7-Zip) 3. 7-Zip

The best free file compression software

Free softwareOwn formatGreat for huge files

The first free option in this roundup, 7-Zip is another program with an excellent reputation. It can handle pretty much any compressed file format you care to throw at it.

A real stalwart of the compression world, 7-Zip boasts its own compressed file format, 7z. This not only lets you compress truly gigantic files (up to 16 billion gigabytes, according to its developers), but also has an incredibly high compression rate. However, this does mean making speed sacrifices; 7z can use 'solid compression' to achieve tiny file sizes, but it can be very, very slow.

7-Zip's interface is far from attractive, and the number of context menu entries the program creates can be a little unnerving. Thankfully, if you venture into Options within the program, you'll find that it's easy enough to get rid of the options you don't need.

The look of this file compression software won't be to everyone's taste, but if you can get past this, you have a rock-steady and reliable utility on your hands.

Divider

(Image credit: Zip Archiver) 4. Zip Archiver

Best for advanced file compression

Free softwareGood interfaceDrag and dropSupports many formatsWindows only

It might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of file compression software, but Zip Archiver has a very healthy following thanks to its thoughtfully designed interface, excellent format support, and because it offers all this for free.

What makes this program interesting is its incredible ease of use. Even someone who is unfamiliar with the idea of file compression and decompression should find it easy to achieve the results they want.

Creating and extracting archives to one of a range of formats is reduced to a simple drag and drop process, and there's cloud support as a handy extra. What this means is that you can, in one quick and easy operation, create a compressed file, upload it to Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive, and have a shareable link created automatically.

If you're compressing files to share them, this is a brilliant option. If you're not a fan of the drag-and-drop interface, you can use the Windows context menu to take care of everything – the choice is yours.

There are dozens of compressed file formats, but Zip Archiver can handle them all. The only drawback is that Zip Archiver is only available for Windows. 

Divider

(Image credit: PeaZip) 5. PeaZip

Best free file compression tool for Linux

For Windows and LinuxConvert archive formatsSecurity tools

Another free compression program, PeaZip (for Windows and Linux) is simple looking but surprisingly powerful, and offers plenty of security options

In addition to regular compression and decompression options, you can also use PeaZip to convert archives between formats. For the security conscious, this file compression software also offers AES256-based encryption and two-factor authentication, as well as a password manager.

As with the other compression tools in this roundup, you can make use of the main program interface, or fall back in love with the right mouse button and use the context menu.

PeaZip is one compression tool that can, sort of, create – as well as extract – RAR files. If you have WinRAR installed (be it the full version or the trial) PeaZip can make use of the software to gain full RAR support. Although no warning message will be displayed, you're not really supposed to use WinRAR after the end of the trial period, either on its own or through PeaZip.

Best lightweight Linux distros of 2021

Techradar - Fri, 10/15/2021 - 01:49

Modern Linux distros are designed to appeal to a large number of users who run modern hardware.

As a result, they have become too bloated for older machines. Without a healthy dollop of system memory and an extra core or two, these distros may not deliver the best performance.

Thankfully, there are many lightweight distros, trimmed and tweaked by expert hands, which can be used to breathe new life into older hardware.

The lightweight distros in this guide are fully capable of reviving older hardware and can even function as a replacement of your current operating system, if you're willing to adjust to their way of working and install extra apps as necessary.

(Image credit: Absolute Linux) 1. Absolute Linux

A featherweight distro designed for desktop use

Highly streamlined and nimble distroPlenty of help documentation on handNo Live environment

Absolute Linux is a lightweight distro designed for desktop use, and as such comes preinstalled with the Firefox browser and LibreOffice suite. It's based on Slackware but unlike its parent OS, aims to make configuration and maintenance as simple as possible.

The installer is text-based and there's no Live mode, but nevertheless it's incredibly simple to follow. The way Absolute is structured also means that you can add and remove packages from the install media to create a distro which truly suits you, though you'll need some time and experience with Linux if you really want to make the most of this feature. 

Once installed, Absolute Linux is incredibly nimble. This is ensured through the lightweight IceWM window manager, along with popular apps such as LibreOffice, making this OS perfect for older machines. 

The distro includes many useful custom scripts and utilities to ease configuration and maintenance of the installation. There's also plenty of documentation accessible from within the desktop itself to assist new users.

divider

(Image credit: AntiX) 2. antiX

A lightweight distro that’s chock full of apps

Minimal hardware requirementsOut of the box functionalityUseful set of custom apps

antiX is one of the best options that’ll be content on a computer with very little resources. The full edition of antiX, which uses IceWM together with the Rox file manager, is one of the lightest distros around and yet ships with lots of apps, including both mainstream and lightweight ones, for virtually every desktop task.

The distro uses its own repos together with that of Debian’s. While it bundles the Synaptic package manager, one of the interesting aspects of the distro is the metapackage installer that helps make the distro accessible to new users. 

antiX boots into a pleasing looking IceWM window manager with icons on the desktop. One interesting aspect of the distro is the home-grown antiX control panel which you use to modify virtually all aspects of your installation. For example, you can modify different aspects of the desktop’s appearance such as themes, menus, wallpaper as well as configure the antiX ad blocker, image a partition and tweak the automount behavior using the custom modules in the control panel.

divider

(Image credit: BunsenLabs) 3. BunsenLabs

A distro that's carrying the Crunchbang torch onwards

Blazing fast performanceSmartly configured Openbox window managerAvailable for 32-bit machines as well

Crunchbang (or #!) was a very popular Debian-derived distro specifically designed to use as few system resources as possible. While it was discontinued in 2013, the community fondly remembered its lightning speed and responded with two Crunchbang-based distros to continue its legacy.

However, one of those successors, Crunchbang++, has now been discontinued. BunsenLabs is still active, though, and its current release (Lithium) is based on the latest stable version of Debian featuring a gorgeously configured Openbox window manager and its own repository of core packages.

The distro ships with an assortment of themes and wallpapers, and includes a number of everyday desktop apps to provide a very usable out-of-the-box experience. 

BunsenLabs is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit machines, and the developers recommend running the distro on a machine with more than 2 GB of RAM.

Divider

(Image credit: LinuxLite) 4. Linux Lite

Designed for those who won’t pay for a new version of Windows

Aimed at easing migration of Windows usersFeatures a host of familiar appsNot the least demanding distro out there

Linux Lite is based on Ubuntu. It is specifically developed to ease Windows users – particularly those with old machines – into the world of Linux.

It features familiar tools like Firefox (with built-in support for Netflix), plus VLC Media Player and LibreOffice are preinstalled. The OS also includes the zRAM memory compression tool which makes it run faster on older machines. There's also a special ‘Lite Upgrade’ utility.

Despite its name, this distro isn't the least resource hungry out there, as it requires both a 1.5GHz processor and at least 1GB of RAM to run smoothly. That said, this shouldn't be too much to ask of any computer made in the last decade. 

Try it on modern hardware and you'll be amazed at just how quickly it runs. Linux Lite can boot from a Live medium such as a USB stick or CD, or install to your hard drive. It also supports multi-booting so you can keep your existing OS if you wish. The distro has dropped support for 32-bit and is only available for 64-bit systems.

divider

(Image credit: Lubuntu) 5. Lubuntu

A neat spin on the popular OS for older machines

Ubuntu but slimmed downUses nifty lightweight appsCompatible with Ubuntu repositories

The 'L' in Lubuntu might as well stand for lightweight, as the distro unashamedly appeals to those Ubuntu users who are looking for an OS which requires fewer resources than most modern distros, but doesn't force you to compromise on your favorite apps.

Lubuntu is primarily designed for older machines. The default desktop is based on LXQt, which is far less resource hungry than mainstream Ubuntu's Gnome 3 desktop. It comes with a plethora of office, internet, multimedia and graphics apps, along with a wide assortment of useful tools and utilities. 

As a lightweight distro, Lubuntu focuses on being fast and energy efficient. It features alternative and less resource intensive apps where possible. The most recent releases have also reverted back to using LibreOffice rather than Abiword for word processing.

This doesn't mean that Lubuntu is lacking, though – it's based on the latest Ubuntu release, so it's a proper modern Linux distro – it's just shed all unnecessary weight, in the manner of a rally car having all but one of its seats removed.

The most recent release of Lubuntu has now lowered the minimum required RAM to run the OS to 500MB. However, to ensure smooth running, try to use a machine with at least 1GB of RAM. It’s available in 32-bit and 64-bit incarnations.

The unique selling point of Lubuntu is its compatibility with Ubuntu repositories, which gives users access to thousands of additional packages that can be easily installed using the Lubuntu Software Center.

divider

(Image credit: LXLE) 6. LXLE

A lightweight spin on Ubuntu LTS

Emphasizes stability and supportGood-looking distroImpressive range of apps

LXLE is a lightweight version of Linux based on the Ubuntu LTS (long term support) release. Like Lubuntu, LXLE uses the barebones LXDE desktop environment, but as LTS releases are supported for five years, it emphasizes stability and long-term hardware support. The most recent version at the time of writing is a remaster of the current version of Ubuntu LTS.

Aimed primarily at reviving older machines, the distro is designed to serve as a ready to use desktop out of the box, specifically tailored to appeal to existing Windows users.

The developers spend a considerable amount of time making all the necessary mods and tweaks to improve performance, but they don't skimp on niceties. Aesthetics are a key area of focus as evidenced by the number of wallpapers which are included, along with clones of Windows functions like Aero Snap and Expose.

The distro boasts full featured apps across categories such as internet, sound and video, graphics, office, games, and more. It also includes plenty of useful accessories such as a terminal-based Weather app and Penguin Pills, which is a graphical frontend for several virus scanners.

Like Lubuntu, LXLE is available as a Live image for 32-bit and 64-bit machines. The hardware requirements are 512MB of system RAM at a minimum, with 1GB recommended.

divider

(Image credit: Porteus) 7. Porteus

Slackware-based distro is incredibly fast and streamlined

Can run direct from system RAMNeat choice of desktop environmentsCan no longer build own custom ISO

Porteus is a Slackware-based distro that is designed to be completely portable and run on removable media such as a USB stick or CD, but can just as easily be installed to a hard disk. The distro is incredibly fast as it's small enough to run entirely from system RAM. 

The unique selling point of Porteus is that it exists in a compressed state and creates the file system on-the-fly. Besides the preinstalled apps, all additional software for the distro comes in the form of modules, making the OS very small and compact.

Porteus is available for 32-bit and 64-bit machines. The distro provides users with the choice of KDE, MATE, Openbox, LXQt, Cinnamon, Xfce and LXDE desktop environments when downloading the ISO image.

Unfortunately the option to build your own custom ISO has been removed since we previously looked at Porteus, but the pre-built images offer a decent selection of software and drivers, as well as an excellent selection of tutorials to help you get started.

divider

(Image credit: Puppy Linux) 8. Puppy Linux

One of the veterans of the lightweight Linux world

Huge range of appsDifferent versions for differing needsUbuntu-based edition works with Ubuntu repos

Puppy Linux is one of the oldest lightweight distros out there. The project has been turning out slim, sleek and fast distros for over 15 years now, and offers different versions depending on the underlying environment. FossaPup64 9.5 is based on Ubuntu Focal Fossa (20.04).

The distro is full of apps, belying its small size – some are quite unconventional, such as Homebank which helps you manage your finances, or Gwhere which is for cataloguing disks. There are also graphical tools to manage Samba shares and set up a firewall, for example. The sheer variety of applications is impressive.

The FossaPup edition of Puppy Linux is compatible with Ubuntu's repositories, giving users access to the parent distro's vast software collection. The handy QuickPet utility can be used to install some of the most popular apps.

divider

(Image credit: SliTaz) 9. SliTaz

Best for installing from within Windows

Miniscule sizeMultiple editionsAlso supports 32-bit hardware

SliTaz, which stands for Simple, Light, Incredible, Temporary Autonomous Zone is one of the smallest distros that ships with a graphical desktop.

The distro uses the Openbox window manager and despite its size allows you to enable some desktop effects as well. Its menus are flush with all the regular open source apps including web browsers, audio players, media editors, several development tools and more. 

The rolling release distro has a stable and a developmental version. SliTaz also has a bunch of custom tools such as SliTazPanel with which you can administer all aspects of the system. You can also anchor SliTaz to your hard disk and Windows users can host it inside a directory without partitioning their disks. 

SliTaz is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms. Besides the official flavors, there are many other downloadable images for SliTaz because its developers and community provide many variations to address different use cases and system limitations. For instance, there's a low RAM version for systems with as little as 24MB RAM, a version with Firefox instead of Midori, a version with no extra applications, and so on.

divider

(Image credit: Tiny Core Linux) 10. Tiny Core Linux

Tiny by name, and most certainly tiny by nature…

Incredibly compact distroThree choices of sizeIt’s unsurprisingly barebones

The Tiny Core Project offers up the tiniest of Linux distros, shipping three variants on which you can build your own environments. The lightest edition is Core, weighing in at just 11MB, which comes without a graphical desktop – but you can always add one after installation. 

If that's too intimidating, try TinyCore, which is only 16MB in size and offers a choice of FLTK or FLWM graphical desktop environments. 

You can also choose to install CorePlus, which measures a relatively hefty 106MB. This spin offers a choice of lightweight window managers such as IceWM and FluxBox. CorePlus also includes support for Wi-Fi and non-US keyboards.  

TinyCore saves on size by requiring a wired network connection during initial setup. The recommended amount of RAM is just 128MB. There are 32-bit and 64-bit versions as well as PiCore, which is a build for ARM devices like the Raspberry Pi

This minimalist distro doesn't feature many apps. After installation there's little beyond the Terminal, a basic text editor and a network connection manager. The Control Panel provides quick access to the different configurable parts of the distro such as display, mouse, network, etc. Use the graphical package manager 'Apps' to install additional software such as multimedia codecs.

divider

(Image credit: Q4OS) 11. Q4OS

Best option for KDE users

Custom profiler appWindows installerSupports 32-bit machines as well

Another Debian-based distro, Q4OS uses the trimmed-down Trinity desktop environment, which follows the classical desktop metaphor, so it shouldn’t throw any usability issues, even if you’ve never used it before.

Q4OS boots to a welcome screen that can be used to install additional apps as well as proprietary codecs. If you have resources to spare you can even turn on desktop effects. You also get the option to replace its application launcher with KDE’s Kickoff menu, using the welcome app. 

The default Q4OS installation is pretty bare-bones, but you can use the desktop profiler app to flesh out your installation with a single click based on how you plan to use it. Note however that while you can use the 64-bit edition of the distro as an installable Live CD, the 32-bit edition is only offered as an install-only medium. The distro also has a Windows installer that you can use to install Q4OS alongside an existing Windows installation without too much fuss.

We've also featured:

LinkedIn to End Service in China, Citing ‘Challenging’ Environment

NYT Technology - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 23:01
The Microsoft-owned service had censored posts in China, in compliance with the country’s laws, to operate there.

Shopify teams up with Microsoft and Oracle

Techradar - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 23:00

In an effort to help businesses remain resilient and prepare for the future of commerce, Shopify has announced the launch of its new Global ERP Program.

Through this new offering, select Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) partners will be able to build direct integrations into the Shopify App Store. Shopify is partnering with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Oracle NetSuite, Infor, Acumatica and Brightpearl first, though it plans to add other companies to its Global ERP Program in the future.

More than 10,000 merchants currently use Shopify Plus to manage their volume and complexity including companies that started and scaled on Shopify like Allbirds and Gymshark as well as longstanding brands such as Heniz, Schwinn and Lord & Taylor. With the launch of the Shopify Global ERP Program, these businesses will have a centralized system that connects their ecommerce platform to key business data including financial and inventory.

Vice president of Shopify, Mark Bergen provided further insight on the launch of the company's Global ERP Program in a press release, saying:

“At Shopify, we support businesses during all stages of their journeys, from first sale to full scale. Regardless of their size, maturity or complexity, merchants can thrive and grow with confidence on Shopify. With the launch of the Global ERP Program, we’re demonstrating our investment in supporting our enterprise merchants. We’re excited to partner with Microsoft, NetSuite, Infor, Acumatica, and Brightpearl to bring together the best in commerce with the best in ERP. Together, we’re driving a reinvention of enterprise commerce by giving our merchants the power to manage the complexity of their business operations at scale.”

Shopify Global ERP Program

Shopify's Global ERP Program will allow merchants to access a suite of certified apps directly integrated with the ecommerce platform without having to rely on third-party implementations.

As an extension of the Shopify Plus Certified App Partner Program, the company's new offering provides partners with support from the Shopify Partner Solutions Engineering Team when building their apps while also giving merchants confidence in the apps they use for their businesses.

By integrating their ERP systems with their commerce operations, merchants will have access to accurate, up-to-date data on their inventory, products, orders and customer information. At the same time, they can ensure that the proprietary business data will seamlessly and securely flow directly between their Shopify admin and their ERP.

Shopify merchants can connect their ERP solutions for Oracle NetSuite, Infor, Acumatica and Brightpearl to their stores now while the new Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central integration will be available early next year.

2021 Fastest Growing Companies, No. 2: Vital Records Control (VRC) Cos. LLC

Memphis Business Journal - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 19:29
Vital Records Control (VRC) Cos. LLC is now the third-largest records and information management company in the U.S.

YouTube’s stronger election misinformation policies had a spillover effect on Twitter and Facebook, researchers say.

NYT Technology - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 17:16
The prevalence of videos claiming fraud dropped sharply, according to New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics.

The internet talking back to you: local tech startup Copy.ai has $13.9M in funding — and big plans

Memphis Business Journal - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 14:29
Founded in November 2020, Copy.ai uses artificial intelligence to help businesses write and adjust various forms of marketing copy, such as blog posts, social media posts, letters, and emails.

Caller-ID app Truecaller now supports quick-switch Dual-SIMs on smartphones

Techradar - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 14:13

Dual-SIM phones are much in demand now. Be it any price, one thing is certain that most of the brands selling their phones these days offer dual-SIM support. This basically helps user in engaging with dual-side of his/her life seamlessly. But that hasn't really been the case for applications which are yet to acclimatize to those demands and trends. In country like India, dual-SIM phone's usage is pegged to constitute of over 40% of smartphone users out of the billions that exist. Also, with data costs and network being constant issue, switching two-and-fro between SIMs can be a nightmare of sorts.

This is where Truecaller is coming to your fore by becoming proficient in this 'dual' era. So, next time your dual-SIM isn't able to read down all your phone's contacts and identify them, you know where to go.

The popular caller-ID app has been updated with slew of features that offers contact details of caller across multiple SIMs seamlessly. "On many Android devices on the market, you would have to go to your settings, find the right menu item, then switch the default SIM cards for calls or SMS, and then go back to the dialer to make the call or place a text. With Truedialer, you are simply one-click away from being able to switch SIM cards and make calls, saving time and money, with added convenience," as stated by the app company itself.

The new features are bundled along with the updated version of the Truecaller app, available across platforms; Android, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry as well. It may not sound like a big deal but ask any serious dual-SIM user and he'll give you the answer.

8 awesome hidden features in Windows 10 smartphones

Techradar - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 14:13

Microsoft recently launched its new high-end smartphones- Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL in India. Not only does this mark the release of a new set of flagships, the 950 and 950 XL also herald the official debut of Microsoft's latest mobile OS - Windows 10. With the Windows 10, Microsoft is attempting to unify the Windows ecosystem under one roof. One of the most intriguing benefits of this Windows 10 unification is the flexibility it offers the developers through the Universal Windows Platform.

In addition to this, Microsoft is also harping how Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL are perfect productivity devices for the users. While we are yet to try out these claims by Microsoft, we have compiled a list of awesome hidden features in the Windows 10 smartphones that you might not be aware of.

These 30 markets saw the biggest jump in tech job postings

Memphis Business Journal - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 13:07
Tech job postings continue to rise in major metros across the nation. These 30 markets led the way for growth over the past year.

Microsoft shuts down LinkedIn in China

Techradar - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 13:00

Microsoft has revealed its plans to shutter its localized version of LinkedIn in China later this year though the company isn't giving up entirely on helping Chinese professionals find jobs online.

First launched in February of 2014, the localized version of LinkedIn for the Chinese market was created with the aim of furthering the business networking site's mission to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful.

At that time, Microsoft was well aware that it would have to adhere to the requirements of the Chinese government on internet platforms when operating a localized version of its social network for professionals in the country.

Over the past seven years, the localized version of LinkedIn has helped professionals in China find jobs as well as share and stay informed. Although the service did help many people find new jobs and careers, Microsoft noticed that the social aspects of LinkedIn were not utilized in China to the same extent that they are in the rest of the world.

InJobs

Faced with a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China, Microsoft has made the decision to sunset the current localized version of LinkedIn later this year.

However, the company still wants to help Chinese users find new jobs and opportunities online. For this reason, Microsoft will launch a new, standalone jobs app in China according to a new blog post.

This new jobs app will go by the name InJobs and although it will help professionals based in China find jobs and Chinese companies find quality candidates, it won't include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles.

We'll likely hear more from Microsoft once the localized version of LinkedIn has finally been shut down and InJobs begins its rollout in China.

‘Disability Drives Innovation’

NYT Technology - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 11:41
Audiobooks are an example of a technology developed by or for people with disabilities that has helped all of us.

macOS 12 Monterey release date, features and everything you need to know

Techradar - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 10:47

The macOS 12 Monterey is bringing a host of updates and new features to Macs and MacBooks, and Apple users are getting excited. The new macOS, which was announced at WWDC may not be out yet, but it’s already set tongues wagging by promising a substantial upgrade that most weren't expecting – including Shortcuts, a redesigned Safari, and Universal Control.

Luckily, folks won’t have long to wait. macOS 12 Monterey is expected to launch on October 18 at the company’s Fall 2021 event alongside the rumored MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) and MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021). As with its predecessors, it’s going to be available as a free upgrade, with its public beta already on hand for download if you’d like a head start on what's new.

If you’d like to hold on until the final version of macOS 12 Monterey is released, which we would recommend when most bugs and problems have been identified and fixed by early testers, it is slated for public release ‘this fall’ so you won’t have long to wait. In the meantime, here’s everything we know about Apple’s upcoming macOS.

Universal control being showcased

(Image credit: Apple) Cut to the chase
  • What is it? macOS 12 Monterey, the successor to macOS 11 Big Sur
  • When is it out? Later this year
  • How much will it cost? It will be free
macOS 12 Monterey system requirements

The list of Macs that will be able to run macOS 12 Monterey has been announced, with Apple promising that "macOS Monterey will support the broadest lineup of Macs in history, including the latest iMac, MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, as well as Apple’s Intel-based Macs".

Here are the devices that can run macOS 12 Monterey:

  • iMac late 2015 and later
  • iMac Pro 2017 and later
  • MacBook Air early 2015 and later
  • MacBook Pro early 2015 and later
  • Mac Pro late 2013 and later
  • Mac mini late 2014 and later
  • MacBook early 2016 and later
macOS 12 name: Monterey

Apple has announced macOS 12's new name: Monterey, picked due to it being part of Big Sur by the Californian coast.

macOS 12 Monterey release date

This was announced at WWDC, with a developer preview of macOS Monterey released alongside the announcement. This is only available to developers, but there will be a public beta version for you to try out in July.

While a September event traditionally confirms release dates for iOS and iPadOS, which happened, for the Mac it's been known to be a month later. Especially with rumors speaking about an upcoming M1X MacBook Pro, we may hear about a release date for Monterey in October.

Introducing iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, all-new iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, and so much more! Check out the highlights from today’s #AppleEvent. pic.twitter.com/2Vas3M4NB4September 14, 2021

See more

As usual, this will be a free update for everyone with a compatible system. If you're not sure if your Mac or MacBook is compatible, check out the system requirements above.

When will macOS 12 Monterey be available to download?

The final macOS 12 Monterey update should be available for download through your Mac's System Preferences menu, or you can download it through the Mac App Store application once it's released towards the end of the year, most likely mirroring past releases of macOS.

In the meantime, Apple have updated their public beta page showing Monterey available to try out. While we have a guide in how to download it, we don't advise to install it on your main machine for now, as it could be prone to a few bugs.

macOS 12 Monterey

(Image credit: Apple) macOS 12 features

Apple has revealed what we can expect from macOS 12, when it comes to new features.

According to Apple, "macOS Monterey comes with new ways for users to connect, get more done, and work more fluidly across their Apple devices".

From what we've seen, this is an update that will definitely appeal to people who have multiple Apple devices, such as the iPad and iPhone.

There some features however that will only be available on M1 Macs, which looks as though Apple are already moving to Apple Silicon and leaving Intel Macs further behind.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple) Universal Control

This handy feature means you can use a single mouse and keyboard and switch between Mac and iPad. Use a trackpad on your MacBook and slide over seamlessly to your iPad. 

You can also drag and drop files between iPads, MacBooks, iMacs and more. There's no setup required, you'll be able to just put your devices next to each other, and move your cursor between them. This could prove to be one of the most useful new features in macOS 12 Monterey.

There's been no sign of it as yet in the public betas, but we are aware that it's an update that may take longer to appear, similar to SharePlay which has already returned in the public beta of iOS 15.1.

FaceTime

This past year has made the way we work and communicate change in drastic ways, and video calls are now more important than ever. So, it's good to see Apple bringing new features to FaceTime calling in macOS 12 Monterey.

This includes spatial audio support (a big theme of Apple's WWDC 2021 keynote), so depending on where the person is sitting, their audio should feel like it's coming from their position.

There's also Voice Isolation, which uses machine learning to eliminate background noise and make voices clearer and easier to understand.

There's also Wide Spectrum, which does the opposite, and means all ambient sounds (as well as voices) are boosted, which can be useful in some circumstances where you need to hear the environmental sounds where people are.

MacBooks and Macs using Apple's M1 chip will also be able to blur user backgrounds thanks to the Neural Engine, though this is something that has been part of other video calling applications for a while now, and doesn't require specialist hardware.

More useful is the ability invite anyone to connect to a FaceTime call, even people using Windows and Android devices, and they are will still benefit from the end-to-end encryption.

Airplay

You can now use AirPlay on a Mac, and use your Mac or MacBook as a speaker or video output.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple) Shortcuts

Shortcuts are also coming to Mac. These allow you to automate everyday tasks. You can set your own, or use ready-made ones.

These can be triggered via Siri without using your hands, and you can import Automator workflows with Shortcuts.

Shortcuts will be integrated throughout macOS 12 Monterey, including the menu bar, Finder and Spotlight.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple) Safari

Safari, Apple's web browser for macOS, has been redesigned for macOS 12 Monterey. Tabs are now more compact, the toolbar is refined and you can use tab groups.

This saves and groups tabs together for easy access. Useful for people who end up browsing with loads of tabs open at once.

You can name the groups, and they can be accessible across all devices. Make a change on a Mac, and the groups on iPad and iPhone will also change.

You can use a search box to find certain websites, and the Tabs bar changes color depending what website you're on.

Notes

The Notes app has been improved, making it easier to organize and collaborate notes. The Quick Note feature lets you write down notes from any app or website, and you can add links from Safari or Maps.

Multiple people can work on notes, and they can add their own comments. People's edits can be easily found in the new Activity View, and tags can be added so you can easily find them later on.

macOS Monterey Notes and Quick Note

(Image credit: Apple) Focus

The new Focus feature looks like it'll be a powerful 'do not disturb' setting for Macs and MacBooks on macOS 12 Monterey. Depending on your current activity, notifications can be filtered out.

You can set your status so other people know you're not to be interrupted, and if you set up Focus on one device, it will be mirrored on all your other Apple devices.

It doesn't look like we're getting a Big Sur-like huge update, though. Instead, macOS 12 seems to be a release to fix up bugs and refine the operating system further.

Think of this release as more the Snow Leopard of macOS releases. Back in 2009, Apple made efforts to push the fact that it was a refined release, and no new features.

With a move to a completely different chip last year, it makes sense for macOS to be refined again to be even faster on the new Apple Silicon chips.

Remote working sees cybersecurity questions soar on Stack Overflow

Techradar - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 10:03

Popular developer Q&A platform Stack Overflow has shared that the shift to remote work has prompted more cybersecurity questions across platforms than any breach. 

To do their bid for the cybersecurity awareness month, Stack Overflow analyzed the cybersecurity topics across the developer collaboration platform to track the evolution of security conversations within the developer community.

Its analysis revealed that the previous biggest peak in questions came right after Yahoo! disclosed its 2013 breach in 2016 and later announced another larger breach at the end of the same year.

Interestingly though the volume of security-related questions at the start of lockdown exceeded that of any year in Stack Overflow history, notes Stack Overflow’s Senior Data Analyst, David Gibson.  

Pandemic pandemonium

Gibson says that historically security-related activity across the platform appeared to be tied to major breaches. All that changed with the en-masse shift to remote work in the beginning of 2020.

“Stack Overflow saw an undeniable pandemic-related spike at the beginning of 2020 when the shift to remote work prompted a nearly 60% increase in questions related to authentication,” notes Gibson.

His analysis also confirmed a correlation between the types of security incidents, and the volume of questions. For instance, when there’s a breach due to a software vulnerability, cybersecurity-related questions within the developer community rise too.

“While vulnerabilities are inevitable, developers shifted from just reacting to breaches to proactively trying to secure everyone during the move to remote work,” concludes Gibson, noting that the biggest takeaway from the analysis is the shift to a culture of learning.

Ubuntu 21.10 wants to make cloud-native app development easier for all

Techradar - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 08:50

Canonical, the corporate sponsor of the popular Ubuntu distribution, has announced the launch of their latest Ubuntu 21.10, which they claim is “made for Ubuntu developers.”

Code name Impish Indri, Canonical hails Ubuntu 21.10 as the most productive environment for cloud-native developers. 

“From the biggest public clouds to the tiniest devices, from DGX servers to Windows WSL workstations, open source is the springboard for new ideas and Ubuntu makes that springboard safe, secure and consistent,” remarked Canonical’s CEO, Mark Shuttleworth. 

He added that the company wants to bring Ubuntu to all the corners of the enterprise and all the places developers want to innovate, particularly the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) developers working across the desktop, devices and cloud. 

Developers galore

Arguing that modern development practices rely on containerized images that are consistent, and trustworthy, Canonical shares that with the release it has also published  Ubuntu 21.10 images in the Open Container Initiative (OCI) format on Docker Hub and the Amazon ECR Public Registry

Other developer-centric highlights of Ubuntu 21.10 include the availability of Apache Cassandra now packaged as a snap, as well as PHP 8 and GCC 11 including full support for static analysis.

The release is built around Linux kernel v5.13, which introduces support for the Kernel Electric Fence (KFENCE) memory error detector. The feature is enabled by default on Ubuntu 21.10 and will randomize the memory location of the kernel stack at each system-call entry on both the amd64 and arm64 architectures.   

Ubuntu 21.10 is the final interim release before the next Ubuntu Long Term  Support (LTS) due to be released in April 2022. 

It looks like macOS Monterey will launch with its best feature after all

Techradar - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 06:37

When Apple revealed macOS 12 Monterey at its WWDC 2021 event back in June, Universal Control was easily one of the most impressive features shown off, allowing Mac users to seamlessly use an iPad as a second screen. Any keyboards, mice or touchpads connected to the Mac could also be used to control the iPad, and the demo they showed at the event showed an easy to set up the process that worked really well.

So, when macOS 12 Monterey was released as an early preview, many people were keen to see how the feature worked. The problem was, Universal Control wasn’t included in the early version of Monterey, and even after several months and beta releases, it’s still not appeared.

This has led many people to doubt that Universal Control will appear when macOS Monterey is officially launched, which could be as soon as next week, with Apple hosting an event on October 18.

However, as 9to5Mac reports, Universal Control has appeared in macOS Monterey beta 10. While that’s a promising start, people still can’t use it. However, it can be enabled by going into System Preferences, where a new entry for Universal Control appears. However, the feature is also labeled ‘Beta’, indicating that the feature is unfinished and may not work correctly.

Analysis: Will Universal Control launch with macOS 12 Monterey?

The fact that Universal Control has finally appeared in an early version of macOS Monterey makes it slightly more likely that it’ll be there when the operating system launches. Until recently, there was no sign of Universal Control, which didn’t bode well for the feature.

It appears that Apple may have had more problems getting Universal Control to work, which is why it was not made available to people testing out early versions of macOS 12.

However, it’s likely that macOS Monterey will launch in a few days, so the fact that the feature has only just arrived, and is being labeled as ‘Beta’, means that if it launches with macOS 12, the feature may not be entirely finished.

If that’s the case, then Apple may be better off leaving it out until it can fix whatever issues it’s encountering, then including it in a future macOS Monterey update.

While we can’t wait to try out the feature, we’d rather wait a little bit longer than have to put up with a potentially bug-filled early version of Universal Control. First impressions are essential, so if users try out Universal Control in this unfinished state and get frustrated by any bugs or issues, it could put them off using the feature for good, even if it gets updated later on. That would be a real shame.

So, while we hope to see Universal Control included with macOS Monterey next week, Apple may still be better off leaving the feature until later. Initial disappointment at it not being included will be less damaging in the long run than continued frustration and disappointment at an unfinished product.

Non-compliant PCs running Windows 11 are getting updates after all

Techradar - Thu, 10/14/2021 - 05:59

When Microsoft released Windows 11, it was made clear that anyone trying to forcibly run the new operating system on a non-compliant device wouldn't receive supported updates. In fact, some attempts to run the OS resulted in users reporting a pop-up window that asks you to sign a waiver that makes you acknowledge all damages to your PC due to a lack of compatibility will not be covered under your manufacturer's warranty.

We saw the first official patch for Windows 11 (update KB5006674) being pushed on Tuesday, October 12, and despite Microsoft's threat to drop support, MSPoweruser has reported that unsupported laptops and PCs have successfully updated.

Both GHacks.net and HTNovo claim that unsupported devices with the Windows 11 operating system running have successfully received the first full patch that contained Microsoft Defender Antivirus, the .NET Framework, and the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool updates via Windows Update.

Before we get ahead of ourselves though, there's no guarantee that further updates will be successfully delivered. There are a myriad of reasons why this could have happened, from a technical fluke to Microsoft just not having ironed out how it will prevent undesirable systems from being blocked from receiving automatic system updates. 

We made assumptions that when Microsoft stated devices won't be supported that this was more of a threat to manually drop support, but it could also just be a claim to protect the company in the event of users who have Windows 11 running on non-compliant systems try to complain about an update being missed. 

We have reached out to Microsoft for comment and to clarify the situation.

Analysis: Microsoft will get its way eventually

A pop up message asking Windows 11 users to sign a digital waiver to continue with installation

(Image credit: Microsoft / The Verge)

Microsoft has argued that the system requirements for Windows 11 are in place for security reasons, which explains why the new OS requiring some previously uncommon hardware, such as a TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module). 

People quickly found ways around this of course, and you can bypass the TPM 2.0 requirement thanks to a GitHub project that contains a script called 'Skip_TPM_Check_on_Dynamic_Update.cmd,' which will allow the Windows 11 installer to ignore an insufficient TPM module (or a lack of one entirely).

Despite some devices having successfully installed the update, there's no guarantee that this will continue. There's the possibility that Microsoft was referring to feature updates rather than security (though this would make less sense when you consider how much effort the company has expended optimizing Windows 11 for security, to the point of ostracising users with otherwise powerful systems), though we won't know for sure until the first feature update for Windows 11 is released at the end of 2022.

If you continue to run Windows 11 on a non-compliant device for that long though, you run the risk of things becoming unstable as time goes by. You may get to enjoy the new operating system for a while but, much like we see with die-hard fans of older operating systems, it'll become a lot of effort to maintain a stable version of an outdated build - especially on dated hardware.

The first few months of rolling out a new operating system will always be a little shakey, but this is hardly Microsoft's first rodeo. Given the firm stance Microsoft has taken on users running the new OS on older devices we wouldn't recommend trying to dodge its restrictions. 

As Windows 10 will be supported until 2025 too you'll have plenty of time to upgrade to a new laptop in that time or will be able to upgrade your current PC to meet the Windows 11 system requirements anyway. 

Pages